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Griffins Tame Bulldogs in Shootout 1-0
Howard Wins Battle Of The Shutout...
By Jason Kasiorek

Jimmy Howard stopped all 25 shots he faced for a shutout, but in a quirky twist of fate, Dov Grumet-Morris his opponent turned in his own whitewash, sending the game to a shootout. Then the wheels fell off for the Bulldogs as all 4 Grand Rapids shooter scored for the win. Right Wing Adam Keefe made his Griffins debut after being acquired from Manitoba on Friday.

Keefe wasted no time making his presence known, dropping the gloves on his first shift and raining blows down on Chipchura. Eventually he was tied up and took a few himself, but gave a pretty good accounting of himself. Two shifts later Jimmy Bonneau jumped himand got the sweater over his head. Despite this handicap, he stood toe to toe, and while he took several, he kept throwing them until broken up. He evntually settled in, and looked pretty good in a physical grinding role. Shots on goal: GR 14 - Ham 8

Jimmy stopped an early breakaway, one of several times he came up big in the crunch. Both teams look a little sluggish with lots of neutral zone play the result. Every once in awhile the stalemate breaks, and both teams go end-to-end. The game has a very physical feel to it with bodies banging, and the intensity picking up as the game goes on. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Ham 9.

Bodie went after Oulahen in front of the GR bench and Danny Syvret came to his defense. This led to a gathering of the boys and a lot of pushing, shoving and facewashes. Syvret made a game saving defensive play late in the period and was a rock in his own end. Kip Miller went to the box with about two minutes left on the clock, leaving the Griffins shorthanded for the rest of regulation. Himelfarb on the PK stole the puck and went end-to-end for a shorthanded break, but was just stopped. Shots on Goal: GR 6 - Ham 8.

The OT was all Grand Rapids, helped by a Danny Groulx penalty that left Hamilton down a man for most of the last half of the period. Shots on goal: GR 3 - Ham 0.

Grabovski went first for the Bulldogs, trying a little deke, but Jimmy read the play and took away the the bottom of the net for a save. Keller cut in on net, head and shoulder fake to freeze Grumet-Morris, and roofed it for a goal. Urquhart was the second shooter for Hamilton and he snapped a quick shot stick side past Howard to tie it at one. Hussey buried one five-hole to take the lead, followed by Locke who missed the net. McGrath blazed in and slid the puck five-hole to make it 3-1. Chipchura was the last shooter for the Bulldogs and he put a move on Howard and scored to pull within one. Kip Miller closed the door when he scored five hole to make it 4-2.

Oulahen - Miller - Hussey
Voce/McGrath - McGrath/Himelfarb - Keefe
Bootland - Himelfarb - Keller
Voce - Campbell - Tardif

Smith - Meech
Insana - Quincey
Syvret - Galvin

Starter: Howard
Backup: Liv

Norton - Back
Ericsson - Knee

Voce - Miller - Campbell
Galvin - Hussey

Bootland - Himelfarb - Keller
Syvret - Meech

Oulahen - Himelfarb
Smith - Meech

Campell - Hussey
Insana - Quincey

Danny Syvret had a strong game, I lost count of the number of times he kept the puck out of the net. He made a couple of saves by being in the net with Jimmy out of position. While he has been strong most of the season, he seems to be elevating his level of play as the team gets closer to the playoffs.

Adam Keefe looked pretty good in his limited role, showing off some pretty good skill with the puck, and decent speed. It looked like he and McGrath enjoyed playing with each other. Other than almost colliding with a few of his own teammates as he tried to leave the ice he was remarkably effective.

Evan McGrath had another strong game. There is such a huge change in his game the last few games, he is much more involved in the game. He also is engaging more instead of waiting for the play to come to him. Another change has been with his feet, instead of standing still, he is constantly in motion, moving his feet. Hopefully he is hitting his stride.

Jamie Tardif has fit right in on this club, providing another scoring threat who is defensively responsible. His lightning quick release has surprised several goalies, and tonight resulted in 6 shots on goal. His hard work and speed is complemented well by linemate Jeff Campbell.

It would be remiss to not mention Jimmy howard who made several good stops, and was bailed out a few times by his defense. He played well enough for the shutout, and made the stops he had too.

Official Game Sheet